Library offers support as school year starts

Kolleen Taylor, Library Director
Bertha Bartlett Public Library is located at 503 Broad St., Story City.

As schools are preparing to reopen on some level all over Iowa, most of the libraries around the state are trying to figure out how to help. From in-person classes to online classes, homeschooling and modified variations of nearly every technique, families are looking at this school year with trepidation, hope and in some cases fear. We hope we are able to help ease the anxiety this school year may be producing in our community.

We’ve offered support to home school families for many year, and we have many books which can help struggling Roland-Story students who get behind in various subjects or are having challenges in comprehending the classroom work. We have books that help students with math, science, English and a number of languages. We have a very large collection of history and biography books at various reading levels with the majority of our selections in the Juvenile and Adult collections. 

Not knowing what the curriculum in the classroom is like this year, we hope we are able to augment the lessons by sharing the stories of the people who helped solve some of our deepest problems. You can learn about the people who worked on the polio vaccine, or step back in time to understand why and how our government was first created. Our biographies introduce our presidents, the explorers and the pioneers who settled the United States, in addition to current notorious celebrities. No one has to wait to learn about how the country was founded, they can discover the stories themselves and learn of the heroic efforts to build this great country, those who overcame major hurdles trying to build a better place for us to live. And it is reassuring that with the major obstacles faced in our past, they overcame much to create our country today. In the light of what seems like overpowering obstacles today, it might be refreshing to step back in time and try to understand how early problems were solved.

I spent time going through our biographies, pulling some of the materials that hadn’t been read for a long time and identifying books which were worn-weary with age and use. As I looked through the collection, I was proud to see the diversity of the people whose stories graced our shelves, and yet sad to see so many great books collecting dust. Many of those books will find their way to our book sale area.

The sale room has moved into the building formerly occupied by Pete Tekippe, and the Bertha Bartlett Public Library Foundation has the responsibility of organizing and preparing the books in it for sale. Recently, the library has seen a large uptick in donations and with limited staffing and hours, it has been an overwhelming task to stay ahead of the books coming in and try to keep them organized. We do go through the books and look for recent titles that we may not have purchased or seek better copies of books we already own, so we can upgrade these. But we are in desperate need for many of these books to find a new home.

For those with boxes of older books to donate, please find another place to donate these or hang onto them for a while. We currently don’t have enough help or space to manage large quantities, and we can only manage taking a few books that have been published in the last 2 years. If you have an interest in buying some of the books in the sale rooms, be sure to call (515-733-2685) and let us know. We will arrange to open the building and allow you time to choose as many books as you can carry!                    

Kolleen Taylor is the director of the Bertha Bartlett Public Library, which is located at 503 Broad St., Story City.